Summary: A sermon of contrasting the kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of God
David Guzik- “The eternal King who rules over the souls of men is mightier than an external foe with powerful armies. Rome is gone, Napoleon is gone, Hitler is gone, but the Kingdom of Jesus marches on.” Starting a series on the Kingdom and Kingdom living over next 2 Sunday’s.
Andrew Daughters- What kind of kingdom has Jesus? Neither castle nor palace has he. Neither congress nor parliament sitting, deciding what laws there will be. He has neither army nor navy; no air force to guard the frontiers to keep out the strangers unwanted and maintain the enemy’s fears. Immigration he seems to encourage, of some quite disreputable, like fisherman, publicans, sinners. To such he is hospitable. It seems there’s no revenue service or taxes we must calculate. He surely cannot run a kingdom on what we put into the plate! No 1040 form comes in April to fill out before the fifteenth, with penalties charged for nonpayment, beginning upon the sixteenth. No currency’s here with his picture, no coinage engraved with his name. And where are the posters and slogans proclaiming his power and fame? And I see no trappings of kingship, no robes made of velvet and fur, no crown made of gold set with diamonds, to befit our supreme arbiter. Jesus said that his kingdom was really not what Pilate had thought it had been. It was not of this world. And its glory was not of the kind to be seen. For those of us here in his kingdom, there is one other thing we have known: of the kingdoms around in his lifetime, it’s the only one left with a throne.
We have in our Scriptures this morning two kingdoms being represented. One kingdom is the Roman Empire, the other Kingdom is the Kingdom of God. One is of the world, the other is from another place, from heaven. Pilate represents the Kingdom of this world and Jesus represents the Kingdom of heaven. Most honest and open conversation we see here with Jesus and Pilate. Most of the time at his trials Jesus was silent but not here. We see here the goals and priorities of each Kingdom discussed.
This morning I want to focus in on John 18:36. My Kingdom is not of this world. Though this Kingdom is in the world it is not of the world. It has little in common in with worldly kingdoms. Pilate judged that this Kingdom was of little threat to the Roman Kingdom because in vs. 38 he says, “I find no basis for a charge against him.” But Christ’s words about his Kingdom not being of this world need to be applied in each age and generation. These words tell us that we, Christ’s subjects, are not to act like the Kingdoms of this world, or to use worldly powers as the means for advancing the Kingdom.
Thesis: Let’s contrast these two kingdoms in 3 ways.
Law vs. Love
Pilate was doing his best to follow and enforce the law as outlined by the kingdom he represented. Pilate was determining what crime, if any, under Roman law Jesus had broken and what punishment Jesus should receive. He seemed especially concerned about the crime of treason or insurrection against the government of Rome, calling himself a king without Rome’s approval. The punishment for such a crime was crucifixtion.
Barabbas was guilty insurrection and murder and he was to be crucified for such crimes. Someone had to pay the penalty. Pilate eventually had Jesus crucified and Barabbas set free. Jesus suffered the penalty for Barabbas crime, but in reality he suffered the penalty for all.
Getting back to Law, this is what governement is supposed to do. Enforce the laws for the safety and good of their citizens. Look up and read Romans 13:1-4, NIV. Earthly kingdoms have a purpose in that they restrain wickedness and preserve order, but they are very different from God’s kingdom, and should remain separate and distinct.
One could say that a legalist is one who who carries over this idea into the Christian faith. The important thing is to follow the laws as outlined by God. This is what the Christian faith is all about, the laws, commands, decrees of God. The punishments are emphasized as well.
While it is true that there are commands and laws in Christ’s Kingdom, this is not the most important thing. The bible says that all have broken the law, and should be punished. However, through Jesus Christ taking the punishment for us we are free from condemnation, from the punishment of hell which is what we deserve. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24, NIV.